I don't know why, but novelty tribute bands melt my butter. It's not enough for me that four guys learn reasonable facsimiles of the Townshend-Daltry songs to fumble through them at Concert Pub or Sherlock's. No, I want them to do more, like dressing in New Orleans Saints gear, singing "Baba O'Riley" with Cajun accents and performing as "De Who Dat?"
My favorite cover band for Coachella darlings AC/DC is Hell's Belles (hot women). For Bruce Dickinson and company, it's Iron Maidens (more hot women). Best KISSers? Definitely MINIKISS (hot little people).
So, when Mac Sabbath began repeatedly appearing on my Facebook feed, I got a little giddy. As advertised, the band covers Black Sabbath with a twist. They perform parody Sabbath songs, retooling lyrics to make every offering fast food-related. In their hands (or what passes for hands in Grimace's case), "Sweet Leaf" becomes "Sweet Beef." The antiwar anthem "Children of the Grave" is breaded, deep-fried and served as "Chicken of the Slaves." You get the picture.
The video suddenly getting broad circulation and plenty of blog attention is the "Iron Man" parody, "Frying Pan." It's pretty funny because, of all the things that might be found in a McDonald's (hype needles, people having McSex, assault with a deadly sandwich...), a frying pan's not one of them.
I know, the cover of Blizzard of Ozz is kind of scary, but it's practically wholesome compared to the video's nightmarish depiction of Mickey D's gone metal. The band performs in full McDonaldland regalia. The front man is "Ronald Osbourne," appearing even more demented than either of his namesakes, if that's possible.
"Catburgler" and the cockeyed "Grimalice" hold down the beat while "Slayer McCheese" -- adorned with tusks of the Ancient Ones -- does his best Tony Iommi. Reaction by viewers has ranged from "YES!" to "WTF?" judging from comments such as "The Internet has given us another gift. Let's all give praise" and "How do you come up with this and how do you find three other people who are willing to do this with you?"
Uploaded in late November by the mysterious quartet's apparent manager, Mike Odd, "Frying Pan" attracted 480,000 viewers in six short weeks. It's doing much better business than the McDonald's franchise in my neighborhood.
I admit, the video dropped at the perfect time for me. My new year's resolution is to scale back on the numbers of chins on my head, so I'm digging this hellish reminder of the evil that Quarter Pounders do. I admit, I read Fast Food Nation while eating a McRib. I've chomped on Chicken McNuggets since that pink slime video emerged. But Mac Sabbath lines like "Cows we're going to grind, hope your stomach is well-lined" might just keep me true to my diet this time.
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The best thing about this all is Mac Sabbath has been a gateway to even more of these "specialty tribute acts," much like Happy Meals ultimately will evolve into late-night, substance-addled searches for Jack In the Box Munchie Meals. A little research led me to GAYC/DC -- Los Angeles's all-gay tribute to AC/DC, and Geezer, the Weezer cover band that honors the 1990s rockers by performing as 1890-era senior citizens.
Some of these tribute acts list their band members' names and the music training and experience they boast. It might make a person feel better about aping Elvis for a career to recall he or she once was a star student at Juilliard, I guess. But not Mac Sabbath. They prefer the mystery of anonymity, to promote the illusion they simply exist as inhabitants of McDonald's bizarre world. The band's Facebook page provides little in the way of biographical info and simply says it comes from "Legal reasons do not permit me to say, But it starts with an 'M' and ends with a 'land.'"
As near as I can tell, there's been no rumbling from You Know Who's lawyers to cease and desist. The official Black Sabbath page has a post proudly acknowledging the Mac's existence, so they too see the humor in all of this. Isn't that nice? In this day and age of humorists becoming targets and martyrs, it's comforting to know people still know how to take a fucking joke.